I think one of the main reasons I love camping so much is its simplicity. Whenever I travel away from home I’m reminded of how little I need to get by on.
Last weekend, as we set up camp at 12 Mile Reserve, by the Goulburn River near Jamieson, I was reminded of this yet again. Food and bedding, a chair and table, one set of utensils, one set of plates. Life outdoors seems so simple. Even just a short escape allows me to catch my breath, slow down the frantic pace of life and get back to basics.
Camping is quality family time and time out from a busy world. A world that seems to be getting faster all the time. I love getting away from telephones and technology, from the stresses of my everyday life. Sure, certain things still need to be done but somehow when I’m outdoors they seem so much simpler.
Keeping the set up simple
We’ve recently upgraded to a van so our set up is much quicker than it used to be but even with just a tent and a sleeping bag you can still have a great experience. Once we’re set up I’m reminded that living is fairly basic and straight forward.
“Everything tastes better in the great outdoors”. This was one of my mum’s favourite sayings. A plate full of basic ingredients becomes a breakfast banquet fit for a king when sizzled and cooked lovingly over the coals. Like our riverside breakfast on our first morning. This simple but effective grate over the fire cooked our dinner as well.
I like a nice glass of red wine with a meal, but whether it’s iced tea and a salad roll, a coffee with a plate of cheese and biscuits or just plain water, drinking keeps us hydrated – and happy. Even more so when it’s a good glass of Merlot overlooking the river as the sun goes down!
Camping just isn’t the same without a warm campfire. We sat with the warmth of the campfire at our backs on our first night and it was heavenly. Staring at the water, star gazing, talking deep into the night, a glowing fire is the perfect companion. And keeping warm in bed, well that’s imperative. Hot water bottle, extra blankets, whatever it takes.
And who doesn’t love a dirty weekend? Camping means you can get by on one set of clothes. After all, why bother changing when you’re going to end up smelling like a dusty camp fire. It’s like practicing poverty except, who am I kidding, this is too much fun.
Our weekend consisted of simple things. My son built a dam wall in the middle of the Goulburn River, Doug tried to catch a trout, but had little success. The most action we saw was a snake swim by with it’s head poking out of the water. It got me moving!
And I savored the peace and the solitude. The feeling of being at one with nature. It gave me time to think and reflect on my life. To be grateful for what I have amidst all the stresses and everyday struggles: my health, my family, my writing and time outside in the sunshine to enjoy it all.
I’m grateful for every opportunity I get to go camping. And I hope that, where-ever you are, you’re able to step outside as well – or at least take a step back – to relish all the simple but beautiful things, and people, in your life.